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REV. DAVID CHARLES,
OF CA ERMARTHEN,
TRANSLATED FROM THE WELSH,
The friends of the GOSPEL every where have rejoiced in its comparatively abundant success in Wales. The great work having been mainly accomplished by preaching, every thing pertaining to the mode of treating evangelical doctrine, by the Welsh Preachers, is naturally an object of interest and curiosity, with those friends who, being strangers to the language, have had little opportunity of judging for themselves. But few Welsh Sermons have, at any time, been translated into English. The present Volume, it is expected, will be valued, therefore, as an example, independently of its great intrinsic merit. It may be regarded as a specimen of the instrumentality by which the entire character of a nation has been changed, and by which Christian Churches have been multiplied to a degree unprecedented in, perhaps, any country in modern times.
Christians will be disposed to judge, before hand, in viewing the results, that the doctrine must have been that of the Gospel of Christ, in much purity; for, what other doctrine has ever succeeded in this manner, and to this extent ?
Different denominations have been engaged, and have partaken of the happiness of being instrumentally concerned in the triumph, although none more eminently than the CalvINISTIC METHODISTS. A virtual “evangelical alliance" always existed, and greatly contributed to the general success.
That these particular Sermons exhibit the nature of the doctrine universally preached, may be satisfactorily shown. The Calvinistic Methodists have a “Confession of Faith.” (They got it during the time these very Sermons were composed and preached the Author himself being one of the Compilers.) This, of course, secured negative uniformity in preaching in the Connection-additions and omissions it did not reach, but what might have been contrary, it effectually checked. But it is asserted that those who have, and those who have not, made it their study, do all teach uniform doctrine. This is the highest praise which can be bestowed upon a Confession of Faith, (although it proves the non-importance of its use,) and it illustrates the pure character of the general Christianity of the country.
Men approve of the things of others on the ground of their identity, or harmony, with their own things. A Volume of the Author's Sermons, in Welsh, has been out a few years, and the voice of approbation has been heard from every quarter. The Calvinistic body, itself, has, in every way, given expression to the high estimation in which it holds the Work—the Volume has been commended in its Associations, and in all its Churches. Evangelical Clergymen, and some of the most eminent Independent, and Baptist Ministers, have publicly written of it in the strongest language of approval. Ministers, and people of the Wesleyan body, also, read it with delight, although, doubtless, not without the exercise of Christian liberality, as it must be that they meet with a few points which they, themselves, would explain something differently. Thus, it is assumerl, that the English reader may confidently look upon the contents of this present Volume as a fair specimen of the means used in Wales, with various degrees of talent, to produce the great religious reformation, which has made so many “solitary places to rejoice, and the wilderness to blossom as the rose."
English travellers and visitors, generally represent
Wales as having as many religions as it has of denominations, and that there are no limits to our divisions; but they declare us to be all alike involved in " fanaticism" and “superstition." Our being thus libelled is owing more, perhaps, to ignorance, than to malice on their part. Will they who may again undertake to describe our religious character, show a disposition to act an honest part? If so, let them examine these SERMONS, and, having satisfied themselves that they represent the doctrines which we are ALL called upon to receive, and which have given form to the national mind, let them determine, each for himself, how much truth and justice are involved in the accusations of their predecessors.
The attentive reader of the following Sermons will have no occasion to consult the Memoir to be convinced that the Preacher was a sincere, devoted, and holy man.
The secret of the power attending the Welsh preaching, during the time it was so eminently developed, lay, as regards means, chiefly in the fact, that the hearers could not escape the conviction, that the truths spoken were believed, in all their awful importance, by the preachers themselves—their determined exclusion from their Sermons of all mean, ordinary, and doubtful topics, the earnestness of their manner, and the excellency of their religious and moral character, combined to prodụce this effect. They professed to “know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified," and they convinced men that they did know that, with all the wide world of wonders connected with it, and that they, themselves, were subjects of the grace they represented as indispensable, and were heirs of the glorious salvation which lay beyond the hope of them “that knew not God, and obeyed not the Gospel."
The modern artificial, and diffusive mode of sermonizing was not known to the Welsh Reformers—they had not been taught in schools that the Gospel was but one item, amongst ten thousand refinements, for the display of which the pulpit had been erected; they had not been taught that their chief object should be to exhibit themselves as superior in every branch of knowledge to all who